When wading hip-deep through the Swamp of Depression, I thought I was just hurting on the inside. Now that I’m exiting the swamp, I can see a panoramic view of my depression.
This morning I saw a photo of me during a recent volunteer activity for a political candidate, and I saw my physical size honestly for the first time in a long time. I knew I’d gained weight, but I didn’t realize how I looked. I’ve always wondered how I could look in a mirror and see what I want to see, but not in a photograph. Easy to stop that reality from sneaking in: no photographs.
My recovery from depression has much to do with changing behavior patterns. I go shopping to buy food and choose foods that I think I will enjoy consuming when I buy it, but the next day it doesn’t sound appealing. Then I realize this was another of my soothing, feel good food choices. Also my tastes in food have changed with my medication.
As I was driving yesterday I found myself cussing about the slowpoke drivers clogging up the left lane, and I stopped and reminded myself that slow drivers are not the enemy, despite my having thought of them as such. Many of those I have directed my anger toward in my adulthood were not the people I was truly angry at anyway. I was actually angry at those adults who didn’t protect me as a child.
I told my therapist during my last visit that I didn’t care about glory. Instead I am content to work behind the scenes and let some other, more charismatic face enjoy the limelight. But I have since realized that is not true. I’m used to being invisible and ignored, or having others take credit for my work. I didn’t think I was worthy of recognition. But my fantasies have always been of me finally getting the credit I was due, even if I did have to go above and beyond. If recognition is what I truly want, I have to find places where I will be valued, and not taken advantage of.
The beauty of therapy is there is someone who believes me, and encourages me to own my truth. I can tell my story to with no judgement or pity, and learn to live comfortably in my skin.
Medication helps too. I was out and about yesterday and was amazed at how I am now able to enjoy looking at the clouds hanging low in the sky, the flowers in bloom, and the birds grabbing a bite to eat before the heat of the day.
Cats also help. Yesterday morning Hissy Fit Jones gave me some licks on the side of my arm. That doesn’t often happen. Graybie Baby and I are sitting together as I write this post. We are all close and they are so generous with their affection. They always have given generously, but I have not always been in a space to be so accepting. Today I am, and I am grateful.
The journey continues.